In the early 1930s, the Italian army was impressed by the Walther PP pistol. Beretta did not want to lose a big Italian military contract and designed the compact M1934 for the Italian army, which accepted it in 1937. The M1935 is simply an M1934, modified to fire .32ACP ammunition.
The M1935 is a single-actionsemi-automatic blowback pistol that fires the .32 ACP ammunition. It is made out of carbon steel with plastic grips. It is fitted with a manual safety and another safety on the hammer and when the last shot has been fired the slide is retained open by the empty magazine. The magazine capacity is 8 rounds. As this pistol was built for the Italian army, all parts were interchangeable, which simplified maintenance and manufacturing: a first at the time.
Fitted with the Beretta style open slide, the M1935 has a very reliable feeding and extraction cycle. It was made with few parts and is very simple to maintain. The M1935 is a very robust construction with long service life if properly maintained.
The .32 ACP ammunition is somewhat under-powered for combat use. The magazine capacity of only 8 rounds and short effective range reduces the M1935 to a last resort self-defense weapon. The slide is not of the self-catching type; the magazine retains the action to the rear. When the magazine is removed the action returns forward on an empty chamber. This slows down reloading of the pistol.
The Beretta M1935 was captured in huge numbers during World War II from Italian and German armed forces by allied soldiers, who liked it because of its small size, rugged design and good construction. Many of these captured pistols are operational to this day and widespread in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France and in the United Kingdom. The M1935 is compact and easy to hide, with ammunition available for it.